Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 36,000
Catalog: KM-118
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $11.04 (11/26/2015)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1900 LAFAYETTE S$1 MS obverse 1900 LAFAYETTE S$1 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Marquis de Lafayette was a renowned 18th century French nobleman who has occupied a special place in the hearts of Americans since the Revolution. He left his life of privilege in France to help the American colonies fight their British overlords and in the process helped create and sculpt the fledgling country. With the help of Benjamin Franklin, Lafayette eventually reached the rank of Major General in the Continental Army and helped broker a peace treaty between France and the colonies in 1778. He also had a very close relationship with Commander in Chief George Washington.

With all of this in mind, when the United States was invited to participate in the Paris Exposition of 1900, leaders thought a fitting contribution would be a statue of the Revolutionary War hero sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett. A novel and educational approach was used to raise funds for the statue: School children from all over the nation contributed small change to the Lafayette Monument Fund. Additional funds were to be procured through the striking of 50,000 Lafayette commemorative dollars to be sold at $2 each. Chief Engraver of the Mint, Charles E. Barber, was selected to design the coin.

Barber’s obverse bears a striking resemblance to an 1881 Yorktown Centennial Medal. It depicts the conjoined busts of Washington and Lafayette. The portrait of Washington was created from the same bust used for the Washington Quarter 33 years later. In addition to the portraits, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arcs above the busts at the rim, and the inscription LAFAYETTE DOLLAR arcs at the border below. The reverse design depicts Bartlett’s statue of Lafayette on horseback. Bartlett’s name appears on the base of the statue. Encircling the border is the inscription ERECTED BY THE YOUTH OF THE UNITED STATES IN HONOR OF GEN LAFAYETTE PARIS 1900.

While the date 1900 is on the reverse of the coin, they were actually all struck in 1899. On December 14th, 1899, the mint struck all 50,000 coins as authorized by the legislation. This date had special significance as it was 100 years to the day of Washington’s death. Unfortunately, the coins proved to be slow sellers. After the Exposition, they were still available for a number of years for less than issue price. Eventually, some 14,000 pieces were returned to the mint, where they sat until being melted in 1945, leaving a net mintage of 36,000 coins.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

Base $ 190 215 245 325 430 525 565 610 675 1000 1200 1800 3200 9100 25500 94000 - - -
$ - - - - - - 1350 2050 4500 15000 32500 105000 -

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Total Graded: 2516
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 62
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/6/2015 MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(1), 1227/Lot# 3458
12/6/2015 AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 8336

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/12/2005 PCGS AU 53   Teletrade Auction 1987, 1987/Lot# 1406 $467.50
5/24/2009 PCGS MS 65   Goldberg May 24-27, 2009 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 53/Lot# 1045 $6,325.00
9/9/2009 PCGS Genuine Genuine   Heritage Auctions "2009 September Long Beach, CA Signature US Coin Auction Session(4)", 1129/Lot# 9302 $299.00
9/7/2011 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2011 September Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(2), 1159/Lot# 3851 $2,645.00
5/30/2012 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers The June 2012 Baltimore Auction, 137/Lot# 3320 $5,893.75
2/9/2014 PCGS AU 50   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 790, 799/Lot# 821 $608.00
2/27/2014 PCGS Genuine AU   Heritage Auctions 2014 February 27 - 28 & March 2 Mid-Winter ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Atlanta Session(5), 1203/Lot# 8571 $440.63
9/21/2014 PCGS MS 62   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/21/2014, 193/Lot# 211888 $600.00
11/6/2014 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2014 November 6 - 10 US Coins Signature Auction - Beverly Hills Session(2), 1211/Lot# 4176 $6,756.25

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1900 LAFAYETTE S$1 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 66
Points: 8819
Owner: Chippewa
Grade: MS 66
Points: 7374
Owner: Bruce Young
View the Registry Image Gallery

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